After receiving a Legacy Grant over Winter Break, Bike Boston College plans to add 10 bicycles to its rent-a-bike program, doubling the size of its fleet.
Students have been able to borrow bikes through O’Neill Library since September, when the program launched. Students can check out the bikes free of charge after completing a certification class with Bike BC. The certification programs are led by a biking professional and are held twice a month. Since April, 108 students have completed the certification, according to Ben Li, president of Bike BC and CSOM ’19.
The course teaches students how to obey traffic laws and ride safely in Boston. After the completion of the course, students must sign a waiver that acknowledges they will take care of the bikes and will be responsible for any damages. Students may then rent the bikes.
Li has noticed that the certification program attracts mostly international students who ride bikes often in their home countries. These students want bike-riding to be a main mode of transportation for them at BC.
According to Li, most students use the bikes to ride between Newton Campus and Main Campus, or from their off-campus houses to classes. Students also use the bikes for leisurely rides, and Bike BC will host group rides in the spring when the weather is warmer.
To rent a bike, students must retrieve a key to the bike lock from the O’Neill circulation desk. The bikes are located on the first floor of the Comm. Ave. Garage. Each bike comes with a helmet, a lock and key, and a light. Bike rentals last for three days at a time.
When the weather is good, all 10 bikes are rented, Li said. Each bike turns over twice a week, so most bikes are out for a full six days.
The club has had no issues with bikes being seriously damaged or stolen—they have only seen normal wear and tear. A member of Bike BC checks the bikes to make sure they are in good condition every other day. When a contacts Bike BC to report a problem, a member of the group will fix it immediately.
The group is still working on establishing a greater presence on campus and plans to partner with the Office of Residential Life to have resident directors promote the program to their residents.
Li said he was excited to hear of receiving the Legacy Grant from the University. Only 19 grants were given out last year. The grants are awarded to students or groups of students that work on projects that will impact the community at large.
In addition to increasing the number of bikes it has, Bike BC plans to use the grant money to hire a professional bike mechanic to fix bikes when they need repairs. Li will meet with administrators in the Office of Student Involvement who will make the purchases for the club.
“Instead of taking a bus, biking around cuts down our carbon footprint that we leave to society,” Li said. “That is in line with the vision of men and women for others—that we are serving society by protecting the environment.”
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor